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In terms of public drug program spending,

  • Growth in total spending was 6.8%. Growth was 3.4% after excluding OHIP+.
  • 2.1% of paid beneficiaries accounted for 38.8% of total spending.
  • The top 3 drug classes were used to treat
    • Rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease: 8.3%
    • Hepatitis C:* 5.4%
    • Age-related macular degeneration: 4.9%


* Spending on antivirals for treatment of hepatitis C infections in Prince Edward Island is not included in NPDUIS.

† Spending on ranibizumab and aflibercept (which accounted for 99.9% of spending on antineovascularization agents) in Nova Scotia, Manitoba and British Columbia, and the majority of this spending in Alberta, is funded through special programs and is not included in NPDUIS.

Currently, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut do not submit data to NPDUIS.

OHIP+ was introduced in January 2018 to extend drug coverage to all Ontario residents age 24 and younger. It was redesigned to cover residents age 24 and younger who are not covered by a private plan beginning on April 1, 2019.


National Prescription Drug Utilization Information System, Canadian Institute for Health Information; Banque médicaments, Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec.

How to cite this document: Canadian Institute for Health Information. Public spending on prescribed drugs in Canada in 2018. Ottawa, ON: CIHI; 2019.

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